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Written Answers. - Ambulance Service.

Tuesday, 8 October 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 469 No. 5

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 97. Cecilia Keaveney Information on Cecilia Keaveney Zoom on Cecilia Keaveney  asked the Minister for Health Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan  whether there is an anomaly in the fact that the ambulance service is classed as an emergency service but it is tending to routine transfers of patients which is not classed as an emergency service thereby affecting their rights to the same terms and conditions as the other emergency services. [17675/96]

Minister for Health (Mr. Noonan,: Information on Michael Noonan Zoom on Michael Noonan Limerick East): The Review Group on the Ambulance Service in its report of December 1993 stated that the ambulance service is an emergency service. The ambulance service is so recognised on the basis of its task in responding to emergencies requiring an ambulance response.

However, the health service also has a significant requirement for non-emergency transport of patients and the [1519] ambulance service has long fulfilled an important role in meeting such transport needs. The dual role of the ambulance service has envolved over many years in recognition of the need for flexibility to meet both emergency and non-emergency needs of the health service. Non-emergency work is an integral element of the ambulance service workload and it has been estimated that over half of all ambulance calls relate to the non-emergency work. Rather than viewing this situation as anomalous, I consider the flexibility to undertake both emergency and non-emergency work as essential to the efficient and effective operation of the service.


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